Kathryn Gilje

Kathryn Gilje
HEFN Position: 
Steering Committee Member

Kat Gilje is Executive Director of Ceres Trust.  Ceres Trust, whose name honors the ancient goddess of agriculture, provides grants that support healthy and resilient farms, forests and communities; and the ecosystems upon which we all depend.  Ceres Trust focuses on grassroots leadership and organizing, equity, and movement building toward systemic and transformational change.  Grant areas include:  education for farmers in organic, sustainable and resilient farming systems; efforts to promote food crop biodiversity and public access to seeds; graduate student & farmer-led research in organic agriculture; protection & proliferation of our vital pollinators; protection of people, farms & ecosystems from pesticide poisoning and from GMO contamination; protection of our forests from genetic engineering and use as biofuels; research by independent scientists; and documentary films & art (supported for public education purposes on key issues related to the Ceres Trust mission, and as tools of cultural change). 

An agronomist and community organizer trained by Voices for Racial Justice in Minnesota, Kat previously was co–director of Pesticide Action Network North America; co–founder/director of Centro Campesino; and senior associate at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.  She currently serves on the steering committee of the Bay Area Justice Funders Network and as chair of Genesis, a faith and values–based organizing group in Oakland, California. 

My Grantmaking Focus Is On: 

Organizing and movement building for environmental health and justice; food and agricultural systems; forest protection.

What Drew Me Into HEFN Leadership: 

A warm welcome, committed and passionate people, opportunities to keep up with the science and to dialogue on strategy – and fun! At HEFN, I've found people who are deeply committed to ending the human and ecological harm wrought by toxic chemical reliance, and to changing systems to protect health and equity. There is an understanding that people of color and women are most affected by reliance on toxic chemicals, and support for grassroots organizing as part of how to create change.

I See the HEFN Community Making a Difference: 

HEFN members connect the dots across different issue areas related to health and equity – with each other and with other funders.  HEFN is a hub of learning, resource sharing and strategy development. 

When I'm Not at Work You Might Find Me: 

In the streets at a protest/action, in the garden with my bees, or eating delicious food my partner whips up.

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